Amanda Gorman, the nation’s first Youth Poet Laureate, recited her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” during the 2021 Presidential Inauguration.
Gorman finished writing the poem on the night of the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Here is an excerpt from The Hill We Climb:
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
And this effort very nearly succeeded
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated
In this truth
in this faith we trust
For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while we once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
Gorman follows in the footsteps of Maya Angelou, who read “On the Pulse of Morning” at the inauguration of former President Bill Clinton in 1993. The lovely earrings and gold ring that Gorman wore during the inauguration were gifted to her by Oprah, who also sent Angelou a gift before her own historic moment.
Gorman is planning to release a debut poetry collection The Hill We Climb in September, as well as a picture book, Change Sings, illustrated by Loren Long.
“There is always a light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” ~ Amanda Gorman